I mentioned how it was difficult for me to go to the pagan meeting last month -- since then I've been out with strangers and/or to new places several times, with less anxiety each time.
Kat K and I drove to Sweetwater Creek State Park to meet the Grove of the Red Earth and join in their ritual. I'd never been part of a pagan ritual of any kind so I had no idea what to expect, but everyone was very relaxed and laid-back about it, explaining when necessary, so I didn't feel awkward or out of place. But I didn't feel kinship with the group either; it didn't feel passionate enough for me. I mean, I think they were quite sincere, but I didn't feel the sense of intensity that I was hoping for. I guess I was hoping to get a sense of other people's connections to their Deity(-ies), or feel Deity(-ies) move into the space, but I didn't. I did feel something open up when we all sang though, and I felt magic when I made my own offerings.
The leaders had brought items to give as offerings, and everyone took turns. I made offerings to my Deities for the first time -- that was pretty amazing. I offered to Geb, Renenutet, Nuit, and Jesus, thanking them and asking them for more guidance on my path. About halfway through the ritual I spotted some honeysuckle and plucked ripe blossoms to give. That really pleased me because I feel like a true offering should come from me and be something that is actually a sacrifice for me to give -- and I love sipping honeysuckle nectar. Most of the blossoms went to Nuit because for some reason I felt that they were special to zir, but I gave a few to Geb and Jesus and Renenutet as well.
This week and last week (May 11th) I met up with an amazing pagan group. I just decided to go, rather on a whim, and I REALLY clicked with this group. It's a very mixed group -- everything from Helenic to Santerían to Buddhist to Kemetic to animist Wiccan -- and of course each person has their own unique path, so the conversation is just FASCINATING. And they're mostly in my age range! I collected everyone's info and added them all on facebook -- so forward of me, haha, but waiting around for the appropriate time is for proper, polite people.
The first week I went we discussed "communing with Deity" which led me to realize that communal creating and solitary connecting with nature are the two ways in which I usually commune with Deity -- which led me to realize that I want to make communal creating more of a habit in my life. This week we discussed "how conflict and religion interact" which was also quite fascinating. I LOVE having a group I can meet with and learn from! While I can tell that my beliefs/ideals clash with just about everyone's, everyone is openminded enough to disagree respectfully so it's not a problem.
Ash and I drove to a town we'd not been to before to check out a book sale (where I got a pretty respectable bagful for $8.50 :D) and then found a Fresh Market where we bought overpriced-but-yummy veggie chips & hummus (and I got a Jazz apple which was the BEST apple I have EVER had!) and sat out in the parking lot under an old and stately tree ♥ (instead of cutting it down and paving over it like most of the erglebloops do, whoever designed this lot built a little patio around it!) We had a really good conversation (about our breakup back in the day and our mutual ex) and it felt comfortable for the first time, like things are strengthening between us. We talked for hours and drove back in the dark -- I managed to go the wrong direction but eventually turned around and got us back safely ;-)
I met up with Kat K to go to the drum circle again, and zir friend Pat came along -- with supplies for spinning fire! Shel (aerialmelodies) and zir significant other Ryan came too -- it was my first time meeting them (more on that in a minute). The circle was a little more sedate than the last time, because the threat of rain shrunk the crowd a bit, but it was still a fantastic evening! I brought my newly acquired and much beloved but yet-to-be-named-or-properly-photographed djembe and actually played along despite knowing nothing at all about drumming! I also shared not-yet-named with the others in my awesome little group, so we all got a chance to add to the rhythm :D and when Kat K and Shel wanted to dance I got up and danced right along with them! Without even thinking twice! (I am very very very sensitive about dancing -- I can't believe I did it in public with so little thought or worry!) We left early because it started raining, but at least the rain waited until we'd had a good two hours. We headed to the Majestic, which is apparently an Atlanta institution -- the food was great and we had some fun conversation (by my standards anyway! I'm more into deep, thought-provoking questions than casual chit-chat :D) before parting ways.
Meeting Shel and Ryan was lovely. The day after the drum circle we met up again so they could give me the free tickets to RenFest that they had (omg! so generous!) and we talked some more, and it reinforced my initial impression of awesomeness. I haven't known Shel that long and don't know Ryan at all, yet meeting them felt more like a reunion than a first-time meeting. I felt really in-sync with them (it actually reminded me a little of being around Hannah and Nick) -- it just felt like we connected on a subconscious level. I dunno if they felt the same way, of course, but it made me really happy. I look forward to getting to know them better. ♥